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Child Actors Are Not People!

Gabe Delahaye | August 18, 2011 - 12:30 pm

So, I have this pet peeve, and that is when adults pretend like child actors are people. They are not. It’s fine! Someone needs to put on a cape and run around the movie set, I understand that, but let’s just not pretend like it’s anything other than a little baby in makeup. This is particularly appalling when it occurs on the New York Times. Take, for example, this profile of Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass, Let Me In), written by Dave Itzkoff:

CHLOË GRACE MORETZ admits she felt a twinge of envy in the summer of 2008 when the action movie “Wanted” was about to be released, and the austere visage of its gun-toting star, Angelina Jolie, seemed to be staring at her from every billboard in Los Angeles.

So she put out the word to her Hollywood representatives: “I really want to do an Angelina Jolie-type character,” Ms. Moretz said recently. “You know, like an action hero, woman empowerment, awesome, take-charge leading role.” A month later she got her wish when she was offered a part in the adventure film “Kick-Ass” as Hit Girl, a mysterious vigilante who leaves a trail of bullet casings and body parts wherever she goes.

“My mom was like, ‘It’s exactly what you’ve been wanting to do,’ ” said Ms. Moretz, who was 11 years old then. (She’s 13 now.)

Right. Sure. Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what an 11-year-old (or a 13-year-old) wants. It’s fine if they get it, but you can’t pretend like they’ve had some kind of long-suffering journey to achieve their goals. They literally made a wish on a star, put on their footie pajamas, and woke up the next day with their wish coming true. It bugs me! There are real human beings in this world who work hard for what they want, with determination and focus, and who spend many years dealing with the pain and discouragement of rejection. It’s just unfair to describe a little girl’s magical pony ride in the same terms. Oh man, this article about Elle Fanning by Frank Bruni is even worse, I could not get past the first page:

Omit one small detail, and the story isn’t so remarkable.

An actress arrives on set in an atypical mood. Almost always a whirlwind, she is calm today. Typically a chatterbox, she has gone strangely quiet. For the scene she is about to shoot, she needs to take herself to a dark, sad place, and she is trying to edge up to it. She puts out the word to the cast and crew that they should please, please not be insulted by her withdrawal.

She has played tough moments before. In one movie she found herself abandoned in the Southern California desert. In another she was mute, struggling to communicate through sign language, and in yet another she grappled with a brother’s death in a hit-and-run accident.

But her character this time is in even greater pain, tormented by an inability to control obsessive-compulsive behavior that threatens to tear her family apart. And when the cameras roll, the actress must, in a fit of crying, communicate a lifetime of wishing that things were different and worrying that they might never be. As she glumly readies herself, some of those around her marvel at the wisdom and maturity of her approach. That’s because — the missing detail — she is 9 years old.

UGH! UGHHHHHHHHHHHH! That is the worst thing I’ve ever read. There, I said it. And I am a Frank Bruni fan, but good GRIEF. No, sir. What? NO! Please give me a break. Please give me a break and pay for me to clean the barf off of EVERYTHING.

Anyway, I don’t know, maybe I’m the only one. Maybe everyone else in the whole world is like “child actors are very interesting and fully developed human beings and their every want and desire is worthwhile of our complete attention and we should treat them all with the seriousness and gravity that we would give to any artist because they are true artists and we love them so much.” Maybe that is what you think. But I hate this adultification of these little famebots. And now my friend Spencer Sloan has sent me a video that is just really making my head fall off. Quick! Someone kick it into a storm drain!

Bailee is second. God is first. Fuck the rest of us.

I wish all of the child actors of the world the best of luck in their careers, for real, and I genuinely hope that they lead happy, fulfilling, and productive lives. But I also wish they would all shut the fuck up. Unless you’re delivering a line of dialog from a screenplay, no talking until you’re 25. AND SCENE.